Saturday, June 10, 2017

John the Baptist- That Man-On the Other Side of the Jordan

By Mary Vee
John 3

From John's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee - The Jordan River, farther south
than is talked about in today's story.
My name is John. I am often called John the Baptizer. My job has been to prepare the way for the One who is coming to save the world.

The number of people who had come to hear me speak about matters of God and the One who'd come to save grew to large crowds. They journeyed from cities near and far using camels and donkeys to travel. 

Because there were so many people, I moved up the river to Aenon near Salim where there was plenty of water for their animals to drink and for me to baptize those who repented of their ways.

The sad part about the large crowds was they should have been able to hear these words from the priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees. These men were not doing their job. 

I didn't teach about rituals, I told those who came to hear my words about the just and loving God, the only living and true God, His expectations, and the One he was sending to save us. 

One time there was an argument among those who followed me and other Jews about the idea of ceremonial washing. They came to me to have the issues resolved. During the discussion, one said, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one you spoke highly about, well, he is baptizing, and everyone is leaving you to follow him."

They were talking about Jesus of Nazareth. The One who the dove landed on after I baptized him. The One who a voice said from heaven, "This is my Son, whom I love, and am pleased." 

I answered the men, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You heard me say, 'I am not the Messiah but have been sent to prepare the way for him."

"Yes, but we don't understand. What about that man? The one people are leaving you to follow?"

"He is the one I have been preparing the way for. Think of it this way, the bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who takes care of the details and prepares for the bridegroom waits and listens for him to come. The friend is really happy when he hears the bridegroom's voice because his work is finished. The joy I speak of is mine, and it is now complete. The man you speak of must become greater like the bridegroom. I must become less.

Then words of explanation came to me from God, so I spoke them. "The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He tell of what he has seen and heard. Sadly, few believe him. But those who accept his words show God is truthful. The one whom God has sent speaks the words of God.

"Remember I said the Voice from heaven called him Son? Well, the Father loves the Son and has put everything in his hands. If you believe in the Son, you will have eternal life, but if you reject that man, the Son of God, you will not see life." I rubbed my beard and finished saying God's message, "and God's wrath will stay on you."

I listened to myself speak these words, words God told me to say, and knew my work was nearly finished. My job was not only to tell people that the Messiah was here, but to encourage them to leave me and follow Him.

I hope you will follow Him, too.

Come back for the next story.


*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.

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